Understanding collaboration in Wikipedia

Royce M. Kimmons


Previous attempts at studying collaboration within Wikipedia have focused on simple metrics like rigor (i.e. the number of revisions in an article’s revision history) and diversity (i.e. the number of authors that have voluntarily contributed to a given article) or have made generalizations about collaboration within Wikipedia based upon the content validity of a few select articles. By analyzing the contents of randomly selected Wikipedia articles (n = 1,271) and their revisions (n = 85,563) more closely, this study attempts to understand what collaboration within Wikipedia actually looks like under the surface. Findings suggest that typical Wikipedia articles are not rigorous, in a collaborative sense, and do not reflect much diversity in the construction of content and macro-structural writing, leading to the conclusion that most articles in Wikipedia are not reflective of the collaborative efforts of any community but, rather, represent the work of relatively few contributors.


collaboration; openness; Wikipedia; contribution

Full Text:


DOI: https://doi.org/10.5210/fm.v16i12.3613

A Great Cities Initiative of the University of Illinois at Chicago University Library.

© First Monday, 1995-2019. ISSN 1396-0466.